The Nikon D5100 is one of Nikon’s DX series cameras, very famous because of its sensor, almost legendary among reflex cameras.
The D5100 shares its almost magical sensor with the D7000, praised for its excellent image quality among many cameras. However, the D5100 is often considered just as good, despite being a previous model.
In websites such as DxOmark, these two cameras’ sensor is merely one point below the reflex D3200’s, a camera released just a year ago. This is, of course, debatable, but we’re not discussing this today.
The D5100’s excellent reputation is not just because its quality and the aforementioned sensor, but because its overall performance. It is commonly considered a mid-range camera; it has a small flexible screen with many uses, though some of them are not really notable according to some users.
This camera’s most praised feature is perhaps its great performance in places where light is dim, something its bigger sister, the D7000, is also capable of. We’re talking, of course, about its dynamic range, which is amazing compared with contemporaneous cameras. Even the D3200’s range is slightly below the D5100’s.
And, actually, if you compare those two cameras, you’ll find there are really not many differences between them, except for the size of the pictures. Pictures from both units would be pretty much identical were it not for this detail.
One question I’ve heard and read a lot is “Which one should I buy? The D3200 or the D5100?” To be honest, and after using both of them, I can safely say they are practically the same. Both of them offer a great image quality and excellent performance. The only possible advantage of the D3200 is the size of the pictures, thanks to their size they may be easier to post-process without dealing with quality loss due to resizing. Frankly, I don’t tend to post-process and edit pictures, so this is not a big deal to me, but if you do then this is certainly good news. If you’re like me and don’t like to edit your pictures, then both cameras will work the same for you.
When shooting in low light, we can use this camera with no worries with the ISO set at 1600 and noise control. We can even get to 3200 and obtain good results, depending on the results we’re trying to get.
To sum up, the D5100 is an excellent camera, vastly superior to the D3100, but virtually identical to the D3200 –it almost seems they’re the same camera-. Both of them are robust, great cameras which will meet the needs of most users. The only thing they lack, in my opinion, is a sealed body to protect them from the weather, allowing us to use them in any situation, at any time. An unlikely feature for a mid-range camera, sadly, because this is most commonly seen in Full Frame units, and high-end models such as the D7000.
Its price: 850 USD approximately, which include an 18-55mm VR, though you may be able to find it cheaper.
Without a doubt, the D5100 is the best choice if we’re looking for an inexpensive, great quality camera. Even though it is two years old, this formidable model can still give some of the latest cameras a run for their money.
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